Category Archives: Uncategorized

California To Receive $42 Million In Federal Fish And Wildlife Funding

 

CDFW photo

Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke announced allocation for states’ fish and wildlife agencies, and California will receive $42 million worth of funding.

Here’s the release from Interior:

 Allocations of the funds are authorized by Congress. To date, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has distributed more than $20.2 billion in apportionments for state conservation and recreation projects.

“American sportsmen and women are some of our best conservationists and they contribute billions of dollars toward wildlife conservation and sportsmen access every year through the Pittman-Robertson and Dingell-Johnson Acts,” said Secretary Zinke. “For nearly eighty years, states have been able to fund important conservation initiatives thanks to the more than $20 billion that has generated nationwide. Every time a firearm, fishing pole, hook, bullet, motor boat or boat fuel is sold, part of that cost goes to fund conservation. The best way to increase funding for conservation and sportsmen access is to increase the number of hunters and anglers in our woods and waters. The American conservation model has been replicated all over the world because it works.”

California’s breakdown of monies applied to the state include $16,513,733 for sportfish restoration and $26,033,993 for all wildlife funds. Texas ($52 million) and Alaska ($51 million) were the only other states to receive more allocations than the Golden State.

 

Raptor Poaching Suspect Arrested In Lassen County

Photo by California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

 

The following press release is courtesy of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife:

California wildlife officers have uncovered what is likely the largest raptor poaching case in known California history, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) announced.

Wildlife officers assigned to Lassen County received an anonymous tip from someone who reportedly witnessed a man killing a hawk near the town of Standish. The local wildlife officer conducted surveillance, then visited the private property and discovered nine dead raptors, which was enough evidence to obtain a search warrant. He returned on March 11 with additional officers and a CDFW K-9. A search of the 80-acre property led to the discovery of an extraordinary number of raptor carcasses, other dead birds and wildlife and spent rifle casings indicating more than 140 potential state and/or federal violations.

Processing evidence
Processing evidence: Wildlife officers collected over 140 carcasses of mostly raptors, but other birds and mammals as well.

In addition to the original nine birds, they found 126 dead raptors, all in various states of decay. Most of the birds were red tail hawks, but at least one dead owl was found, as well as an uncommon migratory ferruginous hawk. Officers also located two dead bobcats, one taxidermied mountain lion and other nongame birds, all suspected to be unlawfully taken.

Property owner Richard Parker, 67, was booked into Lassen County jail on multiple charges including take of birds of prey, take of migratory nongame birds as designated by the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act, take of other nongame birds, and possession of wildlife unlawfully taken. Additional charges may be added as the investigation proceeds.

wildlife officers conducting investigation
Wildlife officers conducting investigation: Most of the dead birds were located at the bottom of roosting trees or manmade objects such as telephone poles.

Staff at CDFW’s Wildlife Investigations Laboratory in Rancho Cordova are working to positively identify the species of all of the birds.

As the top bird predators in the food chain, raptors serve an important role in the ecosystem by controlling rodent and small mammal populations. However, they are also particularly susceptible to environmental stressors such as drought and habitat loss. For these reasons, biologists refer to them as an indicator species.

Standish is located near Honey Lake and the Honey Lake Wildlife Area, with habitat that supports a rich diversity and quantity of wildlife. The sheer number of birds poached on the 80-acre property will undoubtedly affect the raptor population in the immediate area.

“Poaching crimes of this egregious nature against raptors is unprecedented in California,” said David Bess, CDFW Deputy Director and Chief of the Law Enforcement Division. “The local raptor population may take years to recover from these killings.”

Each potential violation is a misdemeanor poaching crime at the state level, with maximum penalties of six months in jail and up to a $5,000 fine per each raptor. An unlawfully taken mountain lion could result in up to a $10,000 penalty. Each potential federal crime could result in additional penalties.

Gearing Up For Fred Hall Shows

Fred Hall Special 2018 (Trailer) from Angler Chronicles on Vimeo.

As the above video states, it’s Fred Hall Shows time in Central and Southern California. Beginning with the Fred Hall Central Valley Sports Show that begins on Thursday in Bakersfield, there are three shows – Long Beach from March 7-11 and Del Mar from March 22-25 that cater to outdoors lovers.

Here’s a Q&A that we did with show owner Bart Hall, son of the popular show’s founder and namesake.

 

By Chris Cocoles

It never gets old for Bart Hall – carrying on his dad’s vision of producing big events for outdoors lovers of everything from hunting to fishing to jet skiing and which began nearly three-quarters of a century ago.

Today, the Fred Hall Shows – Bakersfield from March 2-4, Long Beach from March 7-11 and Del Mar (San Diego) from March 22-25 – bring together thousands of sportsmen and -women who want to check out the newest gear, destination resorts and have an interactive outdoor experience. 

Bart, Fred’s son, coordinates the show and takes pride in the success of his three events – Bakersfield’s Fred Hall Central Valley Sports Show joined the family last year – and their being a fixture each March for hunters, anglers, boaters and kayakers. We chatted with Bart Hall about his dad’s legacy and what to look for in 2018. 

Chris Cocoles This event has been such a great vision that your dad Fred first had since just after World War II. Do you find it hard to fathom how successful the Fred Hall Shows have become? 

Bart Hall You know, I just produced a commercial where I am speaking and I say in the commercial, “I am proud of our 72-year-old history and amazed that the little show my father produced at Gilmore Stadium in 1946 could have grown into the 2018 version of the Fred Hall Show.” I remember those shows as a kid, when kids were free to run around without fear in those days and I thought the Fred Hall Shows were my own personal playground. I got to shoot arrows with big game archer Howard Hill; I got to log roll with the lumberjacks and so much more. But nobody ever thought the Fred Hall Shows – and they weren’t called the Fred Hall Shows then; they were called the Sportsmen’s Shows – would ever grow into what they are today. I remember the day before my dad died I took him around the Long Beach show in a golf cart and said, “Dad, look at this … Look at what you’ve created.” And, of course, they are even bigger now.

CC Your website calls the Fred Hall Shows “The Ultimate Outdoor Experience.” What do you think the outdoor experience meant to Fred Hall? 

BH When my dad was a young man he grew up fishing in Florida. He loved hunting, especially bird hunting. Towards the end of the war my dad worked for Mel Morrison, my godfather, at a company called Crowd Management Inc. They provided ushers, ticket sellers and gatemen to all of the sporting events in Southern California. My dad realized that with all of the sports they were associated with – baseball, football, basketball, horse racing, “the fights,” wrestling, track and field, and even roller derby – outdoor recreation was not included. So in 1945, the year I was born, my dad went to Mel one day and said, “Let’s produce a sportsmen’s show.” And Mel’s response was, “What the hell’s a sportsmen’s show?” The rest is history. The first show was in April of 1946.

CC Are there any differences among those potential visitors who can only attend one show among Bakersfield, Long Beach and Del Mar?

BH All three Fred Hall Shows have a lot in common and some striking differences. Bakersfield is first on the schedule this year. We took over that show last year and we were reluctant to call it a “Fred Hall Show.” When you do that you imply certain things to people and we didn’t want to disappoint them. But with a lot of hard work from the Fred Hall Show staff and former owner Mike Hatcher we were able to add a new fishing hall, add dozens of boat manufacturers and expand the small hunting section. However, this show has its own special signature and that is that the Fred Hall Central Valley Sports Show is one of the most successful RV shows in the Western United States. There will be over 300 RVs on display at this event and most of them will get sold at the show or in the next six months. It’s a great RV show. 

The Long Beach show is the world’s largest sportfishing show, California’s largest trailer boat show and a world-class hunting and fishing travel show. We even have firearms on display at the giant Turner’s Outdoorsman and Oak Tree Gun Club booths. The Fred Hall Show at the Long Beach Convention Center is unique among shows in the world. If you haven’t seen it, you need to before you die. It is a bucket-list experience for outdoor recreation enthusiasts.

The San Diego Show is 42 years old and it’s my favorite show. It’s big enough to rate national recognition but small enough that you can get the feel of the “old time” shows and the intimacy that comes with a more relaxed atmosphere. It is simply the biggest fishing show, biggest boat show and biggest outdoor recreation event in the world’s sixth largest economy.

CC What new exhibits are set for
the shows?

BH There are going to be a lot more boats at all of these shows. There are simply more boats that want to come in than we have room for at all three events. Long Beach is going to have some “killer” marine electronics displays, including some boats on the water demonstrating cool marine electronic products. And Long Beach, in keeping with the trend of the last 10 years, will have more hunting displays than ever. 

Del Mar will be overflowing with boats and Hobie is using that show to present a factory-style showcase to their amazing product line of Mirage Drive kayaks, stand-up paddleboards and inflatable kayaks. At all three shows, in the Hobie Kayak Seminar Area we will have the “Show Up and Blow Up” contest, where anyone can sign up to blow up a Hobie inflatable kayak. The winning time will win a Hobie i11S inflatable kayak. Bakersfield will have even more fishing tackle, the very popular hourly drawing in the new fishing hall and all of the new RV’s for 2018. And Mammoth Lakes is presenting a new 360 virtual-reality Mammoth Lakes experience at the shows. Don’t miss that spectacular event.

CC What are some of the activities to look for?

BH Among the three shows there will be over 700 seminars. Long Beach alone will have over 400 seminars and workshops. There is the Daiwa Bass Bin; the Cousins Seminar Stage; the Accurate Fishing Saltwater Tank; the Mammoth Lakes Seminar Area; the Hobie Seminar Theater; Hobie test rides on the Hyatt Lagoon; Casting by Daiwa; Shimano and Avet on the lagoon; the Ram Trucks Ultimate Air Dogs; the Great American Duck Races; the Mammoth Lakes and Shakespeare Kids Fish Free Trout Pond; the Fishing in the City Kids Casting Contest, the Deep Blue Dive Pool; the Paul Bunyan Lumberjack show; and a reprise of the Jack Dagger: The King of Fling Knife-Throwing show. 

CC You get so many different visitors in terms of boaters, kayakers, hikers, fishermen, etc. Does it make you proud to know that after all these years the Fred Hall Shows showcase how diverse the outdoors can be in California?

BH Yes, California is amazing. One entire coast is covered in saltwater with all of that fishing. We are located next to (Mexico), which has great tropical fishing. We have the greatest sportfishing fleet in the world. The Colorado River covers a good portion of our eastern flank and the great system of lakes in the north and south and the amazing bounty of the Eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains are unmatched in any other state. Bass and trout fishing are off the charts. 

We are the only state where you can shoot all three species of elk. We have good deer hunting, turkey hunting, duck hunting, and dove and quail hunting. And while we have problems on all fronts for outdoor recreation, saltwater angling is under intense attack from poorly informed people who want to end sportfishing in the ocean. 

That is why, at the Long Beach and Del Mar Shows, if you join the Coastal Conservation Association of California you will not only get into the Fred Hall Shows for free but you will get a goodie bag worth far more than what you paid to join CCA-CAL, which is a national organization, and every angler should be part of CCA-CAL just like every hunter should belong to the NRA. We need this organization. Recently, environmental extremists tried to completely outlaw Pacific bluefin tuna fishing. CCA-CAL was partially, if not wholly, responsible for allowing anglers a two-fish-per-day limit. Without these folks it would have been zero fish. Join this organization at the Fred Hall Shows. CS

Editor’s note: Like the Fred Hall Shows at facebook.com/TheFredHallShows. Follow on Twitter (@fredhallshows) and Instagram (@officialfredhallshows). 

 

A Half-Million Steelhead Will Be Released In Feather River

CDFW photo

The following press release is courtesy of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife:

Hatchery trucks from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) today began the weeklong process of stocking a half million young steelhead smolts on the Feather River near Yuba City. The 125,000 fish released Monday were the first of the fish reared from eggs rescued from the Feather River Fish Hatchery during last year’s Feather River spillway failure. Plants will continue through Thursday near Yuba City.

More than a million steelhead eggs were endangered in February 2017 when silt and debris overwhelmed the hatchery water system following the spillway failure. With less than 72 hours to complete fixes on aeration and filtration systems CDFW engineers went to work to save the steelhead eggs stacked in hundreds of trays at the hatchery.

Feather River steelhead are on the state and federal list of species of concern, and the hatchery is key to maintaining the viable run in the Central Valley. The eggs in the hatchery during the Feather River spillway event represented a year-age class of steelhead.

Engineers redesigned the water in-flow system using city water for the incubating steelhead. They also brought in massive six-foot-tall charcoal filters to purify the city water and reconfigured the aeration system. These alterations made this week’s release of more than 500,000 steelhead possible.

“CDFW engineers did something that had never been done successfully before on a massive scale,” said Feather River Fish Hatchery Manager Anna Kastner. “The eggs were in a fragile state of incubation and could not be moved, so innovation was the only option. The use of city water for incubation paid off.”

CDFW Engineers George Heise and Beth Lawson, working with hatchery personnel, pathologists and biologists, conferred on the requirements of redesigning the system.  Once agreed upon they went to work.

“Our options were limited and something had to be implemented immediately. The team told us what they needed and we went to work making it happen,” Heise said.

Thousands of anglers fish these waters annually, significatnly boosting the local economy. Finding an emergency fix for the potential catastrophic loss of a year of hatchery production of steelhead was critical – recreationally, economically and biologically.

John Church, a local fisherman from Yuba City, is one of the many anglers who value and rely on steelhead fishing opportunities on the Feather River. “It’s really important to me and family … I take my daughters to the Feather River for the chance to catch a steelhead each year,” he said. “It is what we go there for.”

 

Abalone Poachers Owe Stiff Fines

The Mendocino County District Attorney’s Office has settled three major abalone poaching cases involving Fort Bragg, Sacramento and Bay Area abalone poachers, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) announced.

Two of the settled cases resulted in hefty fines and other penalties for restaurant owners:

  • Steven Yuan Qin Liang, 47, of Fort Bragg pled
    LiangAbaloneCase
    Evidence seized in the Liang case.

    guilty to felony conspiracy involving the purchase and black market sales of sport-caught abalone for personal profit. Liang, owner of the Asian Buffet restaurant in Fort Bragg, was ordered to serve 360 days in the Mendocino County Jail, placed on probation for 36 months and ordered to pay a fine of $15,000. He is prohibited from obtaining a sport or commercial fishing license for life.

  • Bryant Chiu Shiu Lee, 44, of Sacramento, pled guilty to a misdemeanor charge of purchasing abalone for black market resale. Lee, owner of the Sushi Café in Sacramento, was placed on probation for 36 months and ordered to pay a fine of $40,000. He is prohibited from obtaining a sport or commercial fishing license for life.

Liang and Lee were both convicted in late 2017, following a joint investigation by the CDFW Special Operations Unit and Mendocino Coast squad that began in June 2015.

In the third case, the strange circumstances surrounding an emergency rescue led to an investigation and eventual conviction.

  • Justin Joseph Adams, 44, of Alameda, pled guilty to charges of conspiracy and taking abalone for black market sale. He was ordered to serve 210 days in the Mendocino County Jail, was placed on probation for 36 months and was ordered to pay a fine of $15,000. He is also prohibited from obtaining a sport or commercial fishing license for life.
Adams case April 2017
Evidence seized in the Adams case.

In April 2017, wildlife officers received information from the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Department, Elk Volunteer Fire Department and Mendocino Volunteer Fire Department about odd circumstances surrounding a cliff rescue in Elk, Mendocino County. Adams had been dropped off by a friend the day before at the headlands just north of Cuffy’s Cove in Elk. He climbed down a steep cliff to the water’s edge and harvested abalone during low tide, but when the tide returned, his return route was blocked. When he failed to appear at a pre-determined pick-up location, a friend called in a missing persons report. Rescuers found Adams stranded on the side of a steep cliff and extracted him around 2 a.m.

Wildlife officers suspected poaching activity may have factored into Adams’ predicament. The day after the rescue, CDFW Lt. Joel Hendricks and Warden Don Powers donned wetsuits and swam to the location below where Adams was rescued to look for evidence of poaching. In a deep cut under the bluff, directly under the location of Adams’ rescue, they found two bags containing 38 abalone. One of the bags also contained a half-consumed plastic bottle of water. After obtaining a DNA sample from Adams via a search warrant, they sent the sample and the water bottle to the California Department of Justice Forensics Laboratory. The lab matched the DNA evidence from the bottle to Adams.

Trafficking of illegally harvested abalone on the black market continues to pose a significant enforcement problem and further exacerbates the pressure on the abalone population. Black market values will likely increase with the closure of the 2018 sport abalone season. Wildlife officers continue to conduct in-depth investigations and arrest those who continue to poach and commercialize abalone.

“It is immensely important for wildlife officers to work with District Attorneys who understand the importance of prosecuting poaching crimes against the dwindling abalone resource,” said CDFW Deputy Director and Chief of Law Enforcement David Bess. “The Mendocino County District Attorney’s office has an excellent track record in this regard.”

CDFW’s wildlife officers and biologists alike hope to see the return of a recreational abalone harvest as soon as the abalone population rebounds.

Underdog Sport Fishing

Underdog Sport Fishing
World-Class Fishing, Unmatched Service
Custom-tailored charters and lodging in Port Protection, Alaska

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Self-Guided Fishing
World-class fishing at your pace with our meticulously maintained boat and gear

Captain your own boat in our very navigation-friendly waters. Leave and return on your own schedule and fish how you want to, where you want to, using one of the safest and most stable boats available.

Self-guided trips are extremely popular and book up fast. This really is an incredible way to explore our waters, and having the to freedom to do it on your own brings guests back year after year.

 

Self-Guided Boat and Gear
Svendsen Marine in Wrangel, Alaska builds some amazing boats. Their 21-foot skiff is the pickup truck of boats for southeast Alaska. With positive flotation, self-bailing decks, and seating for four, this is the ultimate self-guided boat.

Rigged with a reliable Yamaha F150 main and a Yamaha 9.9 kicker, all with electric start and power trim, this craft will get you and up to three of your friends safely to and from some of the most prolific waters in North America.

Our Svendsen is the largest, most capable, best equipped and arguably the safest boat offered for self-guided fishing at any lodge in Southeast Alaska.

It also comes equipped with the same high-end tackle, rigging, and gear that our charter boat utilizes, including Accurate reels and Star Paraflex rods for your bottom fishing and Shimano Tekota 600LC’s paired with Lamiglas Kenai Quik rods for your salmon fishing and mooching.

A landing net, harpoon, salmon pick, Yeti cooler, and everything else you need for an enjoyable, trouble-free, and efficient fishing adventure are also included. An easy-to-use Lowrance GPS makes navigation simple, a powerful Lowrance CHIRP (compressed high intensity radiated pulse) fishfinder helps you find the bait and gamefish, and a VHF keeps you in contact with the lodge. All USCG-required safety gear is on board, along with an EPIRB.
halibut-500.jpg

According to Alaskan self guided regulations, you may retain larger halibut that on a guided charter boat. Current regulations allow for the retention of two halibut per person of any size.

A One-of-A-Kind Adventure
Quick access to pristine waters from a picturesque and rarely visited outpost

Featured in the National Geographic Channel show Port Protection, this remote outpost on Wooden Wheel Cove on the northwestern coast of Prince of Wales Island lies only minutes from some of the most productive fishing anywhere in Alaska — not just for salmon, but also for monster lingcod, halibut, and yelloweye rockfish.

We offer the only charter fishing available in the area, which is accessible only by boat or float plane. It’s not easy, operating a lodge and charters here, but the opportunity to share the experience of fishing these pristine waters with our clients and friends is more than worth the challenge.

Fishing Port Protection
Different species of salmon inhabit these waters at different times of the summer. Kings are available year-round and silvers (cohos) usually show up in August. But that’s only part of the story. Because bottom species are less migratory than salmon, their numbers and size in a given area are much more easily affected by fishing pressure. That means the bottom fishing out of Port Protection, which experiences only a tiny fraction of the pressure of more established destinations, is truly exceptional, with abundant halibut, yelloweye rockfish and especially gargantuan lingcod.

The remoteness of the area also brings its challenges. There is no easy way to replace gear or get equipment repaired, so we not only make sure our boats are in top shape before making the trip, but also take spares of nearly everything — rods and tackle, fish processing tools and supplies, even gear like downriggers and kicker motors. Simply put, equipment failure will not affect your trip.

Because Underdog Sportfishing holds a NOAA-issued Halibut Charter Permit, you may retain halibut according to the year’s charter angler halibut regulations.

We also participate in the GAF (Guided Angler Fish) program. In simple terms, this allows us to acquire for our clients some of the catch share allocated for commercial fishing. Currently, the GAF program offers you the exciting opportunity to harvest two halibut per day of any size until our GAF quote is depleted. Please see our Details page for further information.

Short Runs and Pristine Waters
One of our favorite things about fishing Port Protection is that we can spend all day with our lines in the water. We sometimes fish as little as 5 to 10 minutes from our dock and rarely more than 30 minutes. We can also fish our protected waters in virtually any weather.

The only reason we run farther than 20 minutes or so is to visit the virtually untouched waters around Kuiu Island, just across Sumner Strait. At nearly 750 square miles, Kuiu is the 15th-largest island in the United States yet home to less than a dozen humans.

The southern portion, which we visit, is inhabited only by black bears (one of the world’s densest populations), plus wolves, numerous smaller mammals like beaver and mink, sea otters, sea lions, seals, and whales. The fishing is equally pristine, with hundreds of miles of coves, islands, and points, many of which have never before been fished with rod and reel.

Trip Details
Port Protection trips are complete packages from 4 nights/3 days to 7 nights/6 days packages that include lodging and meals, private charter boats, professional guides, rain gear, boots, unlimited fish processing, and ground transportation.

Please visit our Details page for pricing and additional information.

Typically, you’ll arrive the evening before you fish, wash away the trip with a cocktail and some fresh local seafood, get a good night’s rest, and then spend the next three or more days battling the biggest salmon and halibut on the planet. Departure is the morning after your last fishing day.

http://fishportprotection.com/

UNDERDOG SPORTFISHING, an Execguide, Inc. company
Owned and operated by Capt. James Thomas
907.401.3675 | james@fishportprotection.com

CDFW Releases Elk Conservation Management Plan; Encourages Feedback

CDFW photo

 

 

The following press release is courtesy of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife: 

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has released a draft of the Statewide Elk Conservation and Management Plan for public review and comment. The plan provides guidance and direction to help set priorities for elk management efforts statewide.

“This draft plan is an important milestone for many of our wildlife program staff, and we’re pleased to be one step closer to completion,” said CDFW Wildlife Branch Chief Kari Lewis. “Public feedback is a critical part of shaping this effort, which emphasizes the sharing of resources and collaboration with all parties interested in elk and elk management. These are essential for effective management of California’s elk populations.”

The overarching plan addresses historical and current geographic range, habitat conditions and trends, and major factors affecting Roosevelt, Rocky Mountain and tule elk in California. The plan also includes subsections that are specific to each of the 22 Elk Management Units (EMUs) in California. These areas collectively comprise the currently known distribution of elk in California. Each subsection includes a description of the EMU and information about elk distribution and abundance, management goals, objectives and actions, herd viability and a summary of annual harvests in that unit.

The plan also outlines management actions that emphasize maintenance and improvement of habitat conditions on both public and private land.

All public comments should be submitted no later than 5 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 29, 2018. Comments may be submitted online atElkManagementPlan@wildlife.ca.gov, or can be mailed to:

California Department of Fish and Wildlife
Wildlife Branch, Attn: Joe Hobbs
1812 Ninth St.
Sacramento, CA  95811

Comments received by the deadline will be reviewed by CDFW, and appropriate changes will be incorporated into the final document prior to its anticipated release in early 2018.

Day Two Results Of Los Cabos Big Game Classic

Californian Kieran McSween of Middletown (Lake County) won junior angler honors with this dorado. (BONNIER CORP.)

The following press release is courtesy of the Bonnier Corp.:

CABO SAN LUCAS, Mexico (Nov. 16, 2017) — The fifth annual Los Cabos Big Game Charter Boat Classic, the only free-entry fishing tournament on the Baja California Peninsula, entered day two on Wednesday as a growing fleet of 110 boats departed from three ports: Cabo San Lucas, East Cape and San Jose, Mexico. Both the weather and the fishing improved, providing anglers ideal conditions for a day on the water.

Anglers fishing out of Cabo followed up their day one sweep of the dorado category with a repeat performance on day two. Tom Holste from Steamsville, Maryland, led the way with a 16.4-pound entry caught on Sushi Time I, earning him a check for $1,800. Second place was brought to the scales by Murrieta, California, angler Rita Muiter on The Blue Marlin, whose 13.7-pound fish was good for $900. The third place prize of $635 was awarded to Mike Chau from Vacaville, California, for his 12.3-pound catch while fishing aboard Dream Catcher.

The wahoo bite was hot in San Jose and Cabo on day two as several impressive catches made their way to the scales. Angler Keith Ross from Lafayette, California, got things started by boating a 35.1-pound wahoo on Jacqueline for first place and $1,800. Next up was James Moore from Delaware, Ohio, whose 34.1-pound entry caught on Hard Effort earned second place and $900. Filling out the category was angler A.J. Summers from Winnetka, Illinois, with a 33.9-pound catch on Jacqueline for $635.

Several nice tuna were also landed on day two of the tournament. David Martin from Hudson, Colorado, took the top prize of $1,800 with his impressive 97.6-pound tuna on Killer II out of San Jose. The second place award of $900 went to Richard Jones for his 83.3-pound entry while fishing on Sea Bum in Cabo. San Jose angler Alfredo Salgado from Redlands, California, claimed the third place winnings of $635 for his 80.5-pound fish caught on Lydia.

Kieran McSween from Middletown, California, took the junior angler division for the second day in a row with his 6.8-pound dorado caught on Cheers in Cabo. The day two top lady angler award went to Jennifer Nuffer from Evansville, Indiana, for her 32.9-pound tuna landed on Adrenaline in Cabo.

The Los Cabos Big Game Charter Boat Classic continues through Nov. 17. For more information, visit loscabostournaments.com.

Los Cabos Big Game Charter Boat Classic 2017 Results: Day Two (Nov. 15)

1st Place Tuna

Weight – 97.6 pounds

Angler – David Martin from Hudson, CO

Boat – Killer II, San Jose

Prize – $1,800 and King Sailfish Mounts Trophy

 

2nd Place Tuna

Weight – 83.3 pounds

Angler – Richard Jones from Portland, OR

Boat – Sea Bum, Cabo

Prize – $900 and King Sailfish Mounts Trophy

 

3rd Place Tuna

Weight – 80.5 pounds

Angler – Alfredo Salgado from Redlands, CA

Boat – Lydia, San Jose

Prize – $635 and King Sailfish Mounts Trophy

 

1st Place Dorado

Weight – 16.4 pounds

Angler – Tom Holste from Steamsville, MD

Boat – Sushi Time I, Cabo

Prize – $1,800 and King Sailfish Mounts Trophy

 

2nd Place Dorado

Weight – 13.7 pounds

Angler – Rita Muiter from Murrieta, CA

Boat – The Blue Marlin, Cabo

Prize – $900 and King Sailfish Mounts Trophy

 

3rd Place Dorado

Weight – 12.3 pounds

Angler – Mike Chau from Vacaville, CA

Boat – Dream Catcher, Cabo

Prize – $635 and King Sailfish Mounts Trophy

 

1st Place Wahoo

Weight – 35.1 pounds

Angler – Keith Ross from Lafayette, CA

Boat – Jacqueline, San Jose

Prize – $1,800 and King Sailfish Mounts Trophy

 

2nd Place Wahoo

Weight – 34.1 pounds

Angler-James Moore from Deleware, OH

Boat- Hard Effort, Cabo

Prize-$900 and King Sailfish Mounts Trophy

 

3rd Place Wahoo

Weight – 33.9 pounds

Angler – A.J. Summers from Winnetka, IL

Boat-Jacqueline, San Jose

Prize – $635 and King Sailfish Mounts Trophy

 

Top Junior Angler

Angler – Kieran McSween from Middletown, CA

Catch – 6.8-pound dorado

Boat – Cheers, Cabo

Prize – King Sailfish Mounts Trophy

 

Top Lady Angler

Angler – Jessica Nuffer from Evansville, IN

Catch – 32.9-pound tuna

Boat – Adrenaline, Cabo

Prize – King Sailfish Mounts Trophy

Black Market Abalone Selling Suspects Arrested

arrest 1

A CDFW officer makes an arrest. (CDFW)

The following press release is courtesy of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife:

Wildlife officers have arrested four suspects on charges of harvesting abalone with a recreational fishing license then selling it on the black market for profit, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) announced. The arrests were preceded by a five-month investigation of the suspects, some of whom have been previously convicted of similar violations.

Arrested were Oakley resident Thepbangon Nonnarath, 48, El Sobrante resident Dennis Nonnarath, 45, and San Jose residents Thu Thi Tran, 45, and Cuong Huu Tran, 42.

The group came to the attention of CDFW wildlife officers in November 2016, when Thepbangon and Dennis Nonnarath and two associates were cited for multiple abalone violations at Moat Creek, a popular recreational abalone fishery in Mendocino County. Thepbangon Nonnarath had previous abalone poaching convictions and the wildlife officers suspected the group may be engaged in the commercial sale of recreationally harvested abalone, which is unlawful.

Wildlife officers observed the suspects using dive gear to harvest abalone for suspected sale on the black market. (CDFW)

Beginning in May 2017, wildlife officers observed suspicious activity by the same group of suspects in several popular recreational abalone diving locations in both Mendocino and Sonoma counties. Further investigation revealed an extended group of people who were harvesting abalone and allegedly selling it on the black market. The five-month investigation uncovered evidence of various poaching crimes among the group, including unlawful sale of sport caught abalone, take of abalone for personal profit, commercial possession of sport caught abalone, exceeding the seasonal limit of abalone, falsification of abalone tags and conspiracy to commit a crime, among others.

“The collective efforts of these suspected poachers show a blatant disregard for the regulations designed to protect California’s abalone resources,” said David Bess, Chief of CDFW’s Law Enforcement Division. “Whether it be California abalone or African ivory, wildlife officers will not tolerate trafficking of our wildlife resources.”

The alleged abalone poaching crimes occurred at a time when abalone are facing significant threats to their populations due to unprecedented environmental and biological stressors. As a result, the California Fish and Game Commission has re-adopted an emergency abalone regulation to continue the restriction of the annual abalone limit to 12 abalone per person and continue the reduced open season which is limited to May, June, August, September and October.

Happy Birthday, America; Here’s To Our Wounded Warriors

Photo by Chris Cocoles

Happy Independence Day!

Celebrate your country’s birthday safely today.  In this month’s California Sportsman we profiled Mike Nares, a Southern Californian who served multiple tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan and suffered traumatic injuries after his unit was attacked. As you’ll see in our piece, Nares is doing OK despite suffering from PTSD, but it hasn’t been easy. He joined six other wounded warriors on a marlin fishing trip to Cabo that was sponsored by lending company loanDepot. Here’s a sneak peek at my story that will be running this month.

Mike Nares (top left) and other wounded warriors during their Baja fishing trip. (LOANDEPOT)

FOR AMERICA’S VETERANS, WHAT today is known by the acronym PTSD has likely been affecting troops since at least the Revolutionary War (terms like nostalgia, shell shock and battle fatigue have all entered the lexicon over time), if not before. But nobody really acknowledged it officially by that name until 1980, just seven years removed from U.S. withdrawal in Vietnam. It’s now become an accepted reality of the difficulties servicemen and -women are susceptible to after their time in combat ends.

Mike Nares, who grew up in suburban Vista, 40 miles north of San Diego, served in the Army from the time he graduated high school until being medically discharged in 2011. Between that time, he had 10 deployments in both Iraq and Afghanistan. A staff sergeant when he left the Army, Nares was awarded two Purple Heart and two Bronze Star medals. In 2010, he suffered traumatic brain and neck injuries when he was caught up in an ambush in Afghanistan. Nares also saw combat in Ramadi, Iraq, site of some of the fiercest fighting of the Iraq War in the mid-2000s and was once controlled by ISIS before being driven out of the city by Iraqi forces in 2016.

“I fought in Ramadi twice, in 2004 and 2006, when it was then considered the most dangerous place on Earth. I always thought that I saw more stuff than anyone else did, and for a long time that’s what I (assumed),” Nares says. “But then hearing all these other people and other veterans tell their stories, it made me realize that I’m not the only one that experienced that type of war. It’s actually really awesome to hear their stories.”

That’s one of the most difficult aspects of overcoming the effects of PTSD. When Nares was discharged, he shut down completely in terms of sharing the details of what happened on the battlefield. Save for his mother, nobody seemed worthy of a recreation of events. 

He was hardly alone in his silence. The last thing returning veterans want to do is recall the atrocities they witnessed, the wounds they suffered and the memories of fighting alongside comrades they’d left behind.  

“A lot of times, that first time where you’re willing to tell the story, it’s going to be amongst people who were over there in similar circumstances, who understand than it would be with a civilian or with someone who never served,” Calvin Coolidge of the Freedom Alliance says.

It took Nares two years of silence before he began to interact with other wounded vets, the only others who could possibly relate. Still, all Nares wanted to do – futilely, given the nature of his injuries – was return to the Middle East. 

“Getting out was the hardest thing, knowing that I couldn’t be there with my soldiers or anyone that I served with anymore, and not being part of a family. I was living with a family and now I was all by myself,” he says. 

“All I knew was the military; as soon as I’d gotten out of high school, I joined. When my time was up – sorry, this is bringing back memories – I missed it, a lot.”

So it was only fitting that Nares’ first step in the right direction was to open up once he began interacting with others who had similar experiences to his. Who else could understand the hell these brave men and women endured over there? 

How far has Nares come? If you ask him about his tours of duty, he’ll gladly talk about some – not all – of his time in uniform. 

“I don’t like to tell everything that I’ve been through, because some of it is too intense to even want to put out there into words. But now if anyone has the time to listen, I’m willing to tell my story,” he says. 

“It’s my healing process now to be able to let everyone know what I’ve been through and that I’m not messed up – that this is who I am. I had PTSD and a traumatic brain injury and other things. I don’t mind telling my story to anyone who asks – civilian or someone in the military. It’s just a better way to heal for me.”